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The Foolishness of the World's Wisdom

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The Foolishness of the World’s Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:18-
1 Corinthians 1:18–25 KJV 1900
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Two teachers were once applying for the same Vice-Principal position at a local high school. One had been teaching a total of 8 years and the other a total of 20. Everyone expected the teacher with the greater experience to get the job, but when a decision was made it was the person with 8 years teaching who was chosen. The teacher overlooked for the job complained bitterly – “I’ve got 20 years teaching to her 8” he cried. “I’m vastly more qualified.”
The School Board’s reply went like this: “Yes sir, you do have 20 years teaching to her 8, but where she has 8 years experience you have 1 years experience repeated 20 times.”
Simply experiencing the passage of time doesn’t mean we have grown or learned from those things we experience during that time.
https://storiesforpreaching.com/category/sermonillustrations/wisdom/
1. Where is the Wisdom of the Wise?
Where is the Wisdom of the Wise?
There have always be someone around who thinks themselves to be wise. Go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. The serpent made himself sound wise and it has only hurt this world. It has continued and we read in the book of Genesis about the Tower of Babel. This was man’s attempt to build a tower that could reach into the heavens and the goal was to conquer God. That did not quite go according to plan.
Genesis 11:9 ESV
9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
Genesis 11
There are numerous other examples. Man may think himself wise, but apart from God, he is foolish as he is on his way to destruction. True wisdom only comes from God.
Exodus 31:3 ESV
3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship,
Exodus 31:
We must seek out the knowledge of God, not the knowledge of the world. The knowledge of the world only leads to death and destruction. The knowledge of God leads to life everlasting. An abundant life full of power and strength of mind.
2. Where is the Debaters of this World?
The Apostle Paul was probably one of the smartest men on his time. He was well educated. He studied under Gamaliel. He was recognized as a Pharisee doctor of Jewish Law. Paul, himself became a lawyer. He was very skilled at debate. He was looking to slaughter men and women and all disciples of the Lord. But look what it took to get his attention.
Acts 9:3–4 ESV
3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Acts 9:
He became a great preacher. He used every opportunity to preach Jesus. When he was questioned by Festus and King Agrippa, Festus felt Paul was over-educated and had drove him mad.
Acts 26:28 ESV
28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”
Acts 26:
God can transform us and make us into His powerful vessels. Where are the debaters when faced with the power and truth of an Almighty God. The Word of God stands the test of time and even when this world seems to be spiraling out of control, the Word of God is our anchor to Jesus Christ. The author and finisher of our faith.
3. The Foolishness of Preaching
Preaching just means to proclaim. But what do we proclaim. If we go back to our text, the Apostle Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 1;
1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV
23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
A stumbling block to the Jews. The Jews already had a concept of the gospel. They knew from the Old Testament about sin. What the cost of sin was. They also knew of a powerful God who had led Israel out of Egypt and into the the Promised Land. They also knew that the sin of their father’s is why they were living under Roman rule. They knew the promises of the Messiah. They were waiting for the Messiah. Their stumbling block was could the Messiah really not set up an earthly kingdom now. Could they accept this man who died on the cross? How could this be the Messiah? What about the Romans? What about re-establishing Isreal as a world-power? They had to decide if an eternal kingdom was more important than an earthly kingdom.
Foolishness to the Greeks. The Greeks did not have an understanding of the Old Testament. They did not have a concept of a God who actually cared about the affairs of man. The Greeks would love to spend time in science and philosophy.
Acts 17:They had their own form of evolution.
Acts 17:18 ESV
18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.
They had their own form of evolution. Epicureans taught instead of evolving from monkeys, people evolved from the material of the earth itself. The Stoics believed in many gods, but all these gods evolved from the materials from the earth and the heaven’s.
Conclusion:
These two examples in scripture represent the sum of humanity. There are people who are spiritually minded. But spiritually minded in all the wrong areas. They look to themselves, or nature, or some other spiritual guide. They need to look to the One who created them and gave them the Breath of Life. Look to the One who created the beauty to nature. Jesus Christ needs to be our guide.
Then there are those who look to science and reason to solve all their problems. None of us are omniscient or omnipresent. None of know all things and none of us can be everywhere at once. But we can trust the One who is. The One who created time and the One who will end time. He is the Great Physician and the Great Physicist. There is nothing He can not do.
So we go on and preach a gospel based on the old rugged cross.
The emblem of suffering and shame.
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true
It’s shame and reproach gladly bear
And I will cling to the old rugged cross.
And exchange it some day for a crown.
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